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    “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (Isa. 9:3)

    This verse in the Responsive Reading puzzled me, so I looked it up in various Bible commentaries.
    (Cambridge Commentary): “and not increased the joy” literally means, “unto it thou hast increased the joy.” Lô’ meaning “not,” and lô meaning “to it,” being pronounced alike, are sometimes confused in the text of the O.T. There is no reason for assuming such a confusion here, and R.V. (“thou hast increased their joy”) rightly adheres to the authoritative Hebrew Aramaic text. It is better to adopt a very simple emendation and translate: “Thou hast multiplied the exultation; thou hast increased the joy.”

    (Elliott’s Commentary): According to the marginal reading of the Hebrew: “Thou hast increased its joy.” The picture is one of unmingled brightness; the return as of a golden age, the population growing to an extent never attained before…a contrast between the outward prosperity of the days of Solomon and Uzziah, in which there was no permanent joy, and the abundancy of joyfulness under the ideal king. The words “before thee” are significant. The gladness of the people is that of worshippers at a sacrificial feast, who find the secret spring of blessing in their consciousness of the presence of Jehovah. This “joy of harvest” represents the peaceful side of that gladness, thought of as the gift of God. But it had another aspect. It was the rejoicing after a conflict,…spiritually with all powers hostile to the true kingdom of God. The joy of the conquerors on the battle-field.

    I also noticed how often “joy” was mentioned in this Lesson; Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines it as “expectation and excitement of success in good; exaltation,” and it is derived from “to shout, leap, rejoice.” After asking for help this morning from practitioner regarding painful joints, I realized that expressing God’s joy will enable me with bounding and boundless movement. It will touch and bless all I come in contact with, and expel not only all sorrow, but negativity, complaint, fear, and irritation. What a much-needed lesson and wonderful expectation!

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Love is the liberator.